“I have always loved to teach and I knew from the onset that academia was the way for me. The sheer idea of imparting knowledge and seeing the “aha!” expression of my students/audience when they understand or connect with something I teach is simply gratifying. This is my motivation!” says Dr Ebikwo-Ogbonna.
Born in Zaria, Kaduna State (north-west Nigeria) and later moving to Abuja, the nation’s capital, Dr Ebikwo-Ogbonna has always been passionate about teaching. To her, academia gives her the freedom to reach a wide audience around the world through her teachings, articles and books and, by extension, influence change in her niche area – financial derivatives law.
She obtained her LLB from the University of Abuja in 2011 and, in 2014, her LLM from the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom. Four years later, she was awarded a PhD in Financial Derivatives Law, from the same university. During her time as a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Buckingham, she also taught the university’s postgraduate law class (LLM Candidates).
“Financial derivatives is such an intriguing instrument traditionally used by market participants to manage their risk exposures. The use of derivatives has huge legal implications and traditional structures of law are constantly being altered to permit derivatives to function”.
“For example, with the inclusion of close-out netting requirements in derivatives contracts, countries intent on effectively using derivatives are having to alter their traditional bankruptcy/insolvency laws just to accommodate the practicalities of derivatives, as notably seen in the recently signed Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 which introduced netting provisions,” says Ehikwo-Ogbonna.
She further highlights the positive social and economic impact of financial derivatives, stating that these impacts notwithstanding, “we have in, the very recent past, seen the abuse of market structures by market participants which have the ability to result in a financial crisis and a consequent crumbling of world economies.”
As Dr Ebikwo-Ogbonna believes that regulators cannot afford to adopt the “light touch” approach to the financial derivatives market.
“There is the need to fully understand the legal implications and anticipate the legal liabilities of market participants who use or misuse financial derivatives. As lawyers, we need to try to be ahead of things. Unfortunately, this has not been particularly easy with derivatives being a fast-moving instrument and constantly being innovated, especially on the Over-the-Counter (OTC) market to suit the needs of its user.”
Dr. Ebikwo-Ogbonna also believes that every finance lawyer needs to understand the mechanics and laws of using financial derivatives, as this is the first step towards protecting unsophisticated users from abuse and ensuring a safe derivatives market.
On adjusting to new times as a law lecturer in the pandemic, she says, “Nile University very quickly leveraged the use of technology through online platforms like Zoom; Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams to actively engage students and staff in delivering lectures, holding meetings and even conducting exams.”
To young lawyers considering a career path in academia, Dr Ebikwo-Ogbonna advises, “be passionate; think complex but speak simple; and cultivate professional relationships with colleagues for your sanity and development.”
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